We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Smitebot on the rampage…

Smitebot seems to be yielding an unusual number of false positives lately, so if your innocuous comment got ‘smited’ and does not appear after half a day or so, feel free to send an email to reply-at-samizdata.net to alert me to the fact that your worthy remarks are languishing in smitebot’s cat box.

Samizdata quote of the day

How can an idea that has been tried and tested so many times, and that has always ended in failure, still be so popular?

A big part of the reason has to be that socialists have long been very effective at distancing themselves from real-world examples of socialism in action. Mention the Soviet Union or Mao’s China, and inevitably, socialists will roll their eyes, and say: “Oh come on! Now you’re just being silly.” Holding the failure of such experiments against a self-described socialist is considered a rhetorical cheap shot, not an intellectually respectable argument. It is considered a lazy straw man, deployed by people who are still mentally stuck in the Cold War.

However, while socialists insist that ‘their’ brand of socialism is so fundamentally different from anything that has been tried in the past that it makes all comparisons meaningless, they usually struggle to explain what exactly they would do differently. The best they can do is become evasive, and talk about lofty ambitions rather than tangible institutional characteristics.

Kristian Niemietz

So is Barclays Bank effectively being prosecuted for refusing a tax funded state bailout?

So is Barclays Bank effectively being prosecuted for having refused a tax funded state bailout in 2008? Perhaps I misunderstand something but that sure as hell looks like what is happening here, at least when I read between the lines. Am I getting this completely wrong?

Samizdata definition of the day

austerity
ɒˈstɛrɪti,ɔːˈstɛrɪti/
noun: increasing the rate a state appropriates people’s money less quickly than some want

Samizdata quote of the day

The actions of radical Islamophobes should not be used to condemn the peaceful Islamophobe majority

Allum Bokhari, tweeting the situation with great panache 😀

Samizdata quote of the day

We don’t even know how many souls perished in the Grenfell Tower inferno, and yet already they are being marshalled to party-political ends. Already Labour-leaning commentators and campaigners are using them, using the freshly dead and the unspeakable horrors they experienced, to make mileage for their party, to brand the Tories evil and Jeremy Corbyn saintly. In the 20 years I’ve been writing about politics, I can’t remember a national tragedy being exploited for party-political gain so quickly. The time between a calamity occurring and the use of it to harm one’s political enemies and fortify one’s political allies is shrinking all the time. It’s now mere hours, minutes even, courtesy of social media

Brendan O’Neill

Samizdata quote of the day

I believe economics, and the way economics has shaped society in the past 15-20 years, plays a major role. Sure the young Corbyn supporter doesn’t understand economics, but point me towards a demographic that does. Every government in every western country is staring down the barrel of ballooning deficits, a debt which will take millenia to pay off, and not a single major party anywhere wants to even talk about it, let alone do anything about it. A simple reduction in planned expenditure increase is dressed up as a savage cut by damned near everyone: the Tories’ supposed austerity isn’t some fringe issue on the left, it is a widely accepted truth across the whole electorate. The people pointing out that these cuts are anything but are basically a handful of cranks on the internet. Like, erm, me. If any government program is threatened with a cut taking expenditure levels back to what they were in, say, 2010 half the country screams that medieval times are making a comeback and the other half believe them. The knowledge of economics among electorates is woeful, and almost all of them have signed up fully to the belief that all government expenditure is necessary, good, and wise and any cuts are bad. Nobody wants to even think about the size of the deficit and the national debt, it just keeps racking up. So if we’re going to criticise the young Corbynistas for not understanding the consequences of unsustainable economics demanded by ignorant voters, we might perhaps want to first ask where they got such ideas from. It’s too easy to blame Marxist indoctrination in schools when supposedly conservative governments, backed fully by the supposedly conservative middle classes, have been so irresponsible with public finances for several generations. Conservative governments might not be quite as reckless as Corbyn would be, but we’re talking about the difference between disaster and a catastrophe here.

Tim Newman

Samizdata quote of the day

The Conservative party gave me absolutely nothing in their manifesto that would make me inclined to vote for them. They have done nothing while they have been in power that would make me inclined to vote for them. The only thing that they had going for them was that they were not Labour. As far as I can see, the hung parliament is a result of his party being utterly rubbish and running an utterly rubbish campaign. They took the electorate for granted when they sowed and this election result is just what they deserved to reap.

– Commenter Stonyground remarking over on Longrider. This strikes me as a near perfect and succinct summation of why the Stupid Party was almost defeated by the Evil Party.

Personally I supported the idea of the election, but even given my loathing of Theresa May, I was stunned by how badly May came across during the campaign, snatching near defeat from the jaws of victory.

Samizdata quotes of the day

Guy Herbert: Theresa May proven worse than cancer. It is a fine slogan
Perry de Havilland: Guy’s remark needs to be SQOTD
Guy Herbert: Along with my NHS slogan I hope: “Better than Greece”

Samizdata quote of the day

We happily say ‘Christian fundamentalist’ about people who are Christian and fundamentalist. We use ‘Buddhist extremists’ to describe violent Buddhist groups in Myanmar. And yet Islam is ringfenced from tough discussion; phrases which at some level include the word ‘Islam’ are tightly policed; criticism of Islam is deemed a mental illness: Islamophobia.

This is incredibly dangerous. This censorious flattery of Islam is, in my view, a key contributor to the violence we have seen in recent years. Because when you constantly tell people that any mockery of their religion is tantamount to a crime, is vile and racist and unacceptable, you actively invite them, encourage them in fact, to become intolerant. You license their intolerance. You inflame their violent contempt for anyone who questions their dogmas. You provide a moral justification for their desire to punish those who insult their religion.

Brendan O’Neill

British people will start arming themselves

One probable outcome of the emergence of knife wielding jihadis on British streets will be an increase in British people arming themselves as well. Of course, this will be treated as a bigger threat than the jihadis by the state, but one might speculate how many unarmed people would have been killed and wounded if the jihadis had not chosen to attack in well protected central London but rather some part of the country where armed policeman are few and far between.

Samizdata quote of the day

Post-Brexit Britain will no longer be bound by an EU Code of Conduct that seeks to police the online speech of over 500 million citizens and ban ‘illegal online hate speech’. Or an EU law that encourages the criminalisation of ‘insult’. Or a proposed EU law that undermines fundamental freedoms by purging Europe of every last shred of supposed ‘discrimination’ […] There is just one, small problem: when it comes to censorship and the quashing of civil liberties, the UK doesn’t need any encouragement from the EU, or anybody else.

Paul Coleman